|A mall entrance into a mallway with Dick's, DSW, and B&N.|
The mall started out as a traditional T-shaped center with Montgomery Ward on the east side, Glass Block in the center, and JCPenney to the west. An United Artists theatre, with three screens, was located in the space that I believe is now an Applebee's. The mall was expanded in 1987, adding the corridor that leads to Sears and the food court. Around the same time Glass Block became Dillard's, who sold their store to Saks Northern, turning the store to Younkers. Saks Northern was purchased by Bon-Ton shortly after. The movie theatre began to face competition from larger multiplexes in the city. In 2001, Montgomery Ward was out as an anchor due to Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the space was divided, becoming Dick's, DSW, and a Barnes and Noble. The theatre was demolished, and became Duluth classic Little Angies restaurant. This idea didn't last long, and it was replaced with another new concept by Grandma's, the Great American Bar and Grill. The store was shuttered in 2011. The year 2007 brought a new streetscape to the mall facing Miller Trunk Hwy.
|Ah, yes, mall directories.|
The one thing that jumps at me is that it feels like the mall could use a small expansion and renovation. More fountains and planters would be added for the renovation. Enclosed malls are quite useful in Northern Minnesota, and a successful mall is a good place for more enclosed area. I would add a small expansion the wing that goes from Younkers towards Dick's. In this small expansion wing, there would be new stores such as Foot Locker, Forever 21, H&M, Apple (I strongly believe this would work in a place such as Duluth), and other stores that are a looooong way away. The mall is successful enough to have these stores and has a very large trade area of Duluth, Superior WI, Cloquet, and the North Shore. The mall also has tourists and a growing population going for it. This isn't an insane expansion of any type, and is easily possible.
|Entering through the aforementioned entrance.|
|The Bon-Ton Stores own Younkers chain.|
|Very awkward Sears photo. Pretty average court, nothing to be talked about. A fountain would be cool here.|
This mall will probably not be going anywhere for a good while. The only thing I see a real problem with here are JCP, Sears, and Younkers, which are on shaky ground. Kohl's, Dillard's, and Macy's are candidates for any closures, and moving Target from half a mile away is an interesting possibility. Burlington could move in for emergencies or to anchor the expansion wing I spoke of. Aside from that, Miller Hill will have the advantage of location. While not on an interstate (which would have been nearly impossible due the hills and Lake Superior), it is still on two major routes, Trinity Road and Miller Trunk Highway. A climate-controlled mall will always be a winter hit in Duluth. And as I mentioned, vacancies are unheard of here. Duluth also has zero need for another mall or the awful lifestyle center, and I don't think I need to explain that.
|Half of the food court.|
|Food court to the Sears area.|
|And looking down from the Sears area.|
The city lost 40,000 people between 1960 and 2000, and if the mall can survive that, it will improve when the city grows. It has a major mall owner behind it in Simon Property Group and is already successful. It's gonna be a weird case where the mall's best years are ahead of it. Mark my words.
|The center court in the original mall.|
|The second Younkers entrance.|
|Stores on the other side of the food court area.|
|Food court in full view.|
|Penney's is down there somewhere. Somewhere.|
|Closing shot from the JCP wing.|
|Aerial photo of 2017 mall. Sears to the South. Younkers in the middle. JCP to the west. Dick's area to east.|